Jordan Karubian


CV February 2018 | Google Scholar Profile

Phone: (504) 865-5549

Office: Israel 306

Mail: 6823 Saint Charles Avenue
         Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
         400 Lindy Boggs Center
         New Orleans, LA 70118-5698



Graduate Students


Sarah Khalil, Ph.D. Student


I am interested in exploring what controls variation in carotenoid-based plumage of red-backed fairywrens (Malurus melanocephalus) within and between populations. My research focuses on taking an integrative approach to study the evolution of visual sexual signals in fairy-wrens by exploring the endocrine, genomic, and transcriptomic mechanisms of signal production. Previously, I studied breeding behavior of superb starlings in Kenya through Dr. Rubenstein’s lab at Columbia University.


John Jones, Ph.D. Student



My research focuses on determining the adaptive significance of mechanic underpinnings of phenotypic divergence in female fairywrens of Papua New Guinea and in flexible expression of ornamentation in male fairywrens in Australia. My main research interests lie in the interplay between behavioural endocrinology and the evolution of animal signals (i.e., color and birdsong). My previous research at Appalachian State University focused on chestnut-sided and golden-winged warbler interspecific aggression and misidentification as well as eastern bluebird/tree swallow interspecific competition.


Kaushik Narasimhan, Ph.D. Student


I am interested in the forest dynamics of neotropical forests, particularly in survival advantage afforded to rare genotypic individuals. My research aims to elucidate the proximate mechanisms of this advantage, including plant-macrobiotic interactions, immunological response and expression of immunological gene complexes, as well as the relative influences of other biotic and abiotic factors. For my Masters, I studied the community ecology of bats in the Peruvian Amazon in Dr. Liz Willey’s lab at Antioch University.


Annelise Blanchette, Ph.D. Student


I am broadly interested in animal behavior, ecotoxicology, and urban ecology. I study how environmental lead impacts the wildlife (namely the northern mockingbird and Anolis sagrei lizard) here in New Orleans behaviorally and morphologically. I also want to understand the genetic mechanisms of adaption that may allow local wildlife to cope with high-lead levels in their blood and tissues. I am co-advised by Dr. Alex Gunderson for his expertise in the Anolis lizard system. For my Masters, I studied the antipredator behaviors of aposematic and cryptic frogs in Costa Rica out of Dr. Ralph Saporito’s lab at John Carroll University.


Mike Ellis, Ph.D. Student


My research interests revolve around tropical ecology and evolution, primarily in western Ecuador where I have been serving as the Director of Research for Third Millennium Alliance (TMA), a conservation non-profit, since 2016. I’m most passionate about studying and conserving tropical avifauna. That passion led me to establish the Jama-Coaque Bird Observatory in northwestern Ecuador – a branch of TMA focused on advancing Ecuadorian ornithology, forest conservation, environmental education and community outreach. My dissertation research draws from data collected by both TMA and Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales (FCAT) and will focus on anthropogenic and environmental drivers of avian abundance, diversity, turnover, extirpation and adaptation in a fragmented landscape.


Luke Anderson, Ph.D. Student


I am interested in signal evolution and sexual selection. My research focuses on the manakins (Pipridae), a family of charismatic Neotropical birds best known for the elaborate displays and striking plumage often observed in males. However, the males of some manakin species in the genera Lepidothrix and Cryptopipo exhibit reduced or absent sexual dimorphism, raising the question of how these losses occur in the context of a runaway selection mating system. I plan to integrate genomic, hormonal, and behavioral approaches to gain insight into the mechanisms and drivers of signal evolution in Pipridae. Previously, I studied brown-headed cowbird courtship behavior at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Marc Schmidt.


Peyton Fralick, M.S. Student


I am a Plus One Master’s student who graduated from Samford University in 2018. I am broadly interested in studying avian ecology and conservation. I am currently working on a project studying coloration in long-wattled umbrellabirds.


Tanner Mazanec, M.S. Student


I’m a first year in a 2 year research Masters of Ecology. I’m interested in wildlife conservation and management. I’ll be looking at herp population dispersion patterns in reaction to human disturbances in the Mache-Chindul reserve in Ecuador.


Ace Spitzer, M.S. Student


I am a 4+1 Master’s student in the department of Tropical Medicine. I’m interested in how organisms use chemicals to navigate their environments and resist disease. I’m working in the Karubian lab to develop a project on how agriculture impacts the distribution of disease resevoirs and their predators.


Fiona Lightbody, M.S. Student


I am a 4+1 Master’s student currently developing my ideas.




Eleanor Casement, Honors Thesis


I am a Junior studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology. My honors thesis focuses on the survivorship of seeds dispersed by different species of manakin birds in Ecuador. I will be spending my junior year abroad, first in Panama and then in Australia, where I plan to continue studying different aspects of tropical ecology. I am interested in marine and tropical symbioses, and would ultimately like to pursue these topics in graduate school. Outside of school, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, backpacking, and scuba diving.


Caroline Camus, Honors Thesis


I am a Senior studying Environmental Biology, hoping to attend law school in the coming year, focusing on environmental policy/corporate social governance! For my senior thesis, I am evaluating the impact of lead and mercury on feral and domestic cats living in New Orleans. I am hopeful that we can make NOLA a safer place for all. In addition to my studies within the department, I am a Newcomb Scholar, TIDES Peer Mentor, and an intern at Children’s Hospital.


Cecilia Hammond, Honors Thesis


I am a sophomore at Tulane studying Environmental Biology and Environmental studies. I’m still narrowing my research focus, but I am interested in plant genetics, environmental justice, sustainable food production, and global change biology. I am working to develop an FCAT research proposal this year with Dr. Karubian and I hope to conduct my research in Ecuador during Summer 2021.


Zachary Ripich, Honors Thesis


I am a Senior double majoring in Environmental Biology and Public Health. I am most interested in arthropods and infectious disease, with a focus on vector-borne diseases and disease ecology. The summer before my junior year, I sampled and modeled tick distribution and the associated burden of Rickettsia illness in Machala, Ecuador. For my Honors Thesis, I plan on investigating the role of macroinvertebrates as bioindicators of riverine water quality in the Mache-Chindul Reserve under the mentorship of Dr. Karubian and biologists at FCAT. After graduation, I plan on attending a graduate program in ecology & evolutionary biology or vector biology


Erin Sheehy, Honors Thesis


I am a Senior majoring in Environmental Biology. I studied abroad in Tropical North Queensland, Australia the Fall of 2019, where I studied Great Bowerbirds, and practiced sea turtle husbandry. My sophomore year, I assisted Kaushik Narasimhan with assessing camera trap footage taken in Ecuador to study tropical palm seed dispersal. I’m interested in behavioral ecology, tropical ecology, and conservation. Currently, I am continuing my work in the Karubian lab this semester studying manakin behavior. I am using this research as the basis for my honors thesis. Ultimately, plan to attend graduate school and conduct research focused on ecosystem interactions and conservation efforts.


Melanie Smith, Honors Thesis


I am a Junior studying ecology & evolutionary biology with minors in marine biology and chemistry. My research interests include animal behavior and bioacoustics, especially regarding marine mammals and birds. Currently, I am working on my Honors Thesis to study what factors influence brood reduction in African hornbills (Bucerotidae). Outside of the lab, I also volunteer with the Audubon Zoo Sea Lion Department. After Tulane, I hope to attend a graduate program in ecology & evolutionary biology or a related field.


Lab affiliates


Tadeo Ramirez Prada

I am broadly interested in the patterns and drivers of life cycle events in flowering plants, and their consequences for demography, community composition, and ecosystem-level processes. My current research employs long-term phenological records to assess the drivers of reproductive synchrony and its consequences for reproductive success in Oenocarpus bataua, a hyperdominant canopy palm of the Chocó. Concurrently, I have employed seed trap records to assess the role of a dominant avian frugivore (Cephalopterus penduliger) in shaping patterns of α-diversity among dispersed seeds in this biodiversity hotspot.


Lorena Torres Martinez, Koch-Richardson Postdoctoral Fellow

I am a plant ecologist and evolutionary biologist that is interested in studying the evolutionary potential of plant species to respond to projected climate change conditions. Specifically, I seek to understand how gene flow can shape the main source for adaptive potential to occur in response to new environmental conditions: the amount and distribution of genetic variation throughout species ranges. Currently, I am the Koch-Richardson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary biology at Tulane University, in which I am designing and teaching two courses per year for graduate and senior undergraduate students -Plant Biology and adaptation (Fall semester) and Genomics and bioinformatics (Spring semester). In the Jordan Lab, I am working in collaboration with the PhD candidates Luke Brown and Zoe Diaz in understanding the fine-scale genetic structure of Oeonocarpus bataua, a native palm species to the tropical rainforest.


Olivia and Joaquin Karubian, Field operations

Olivia has a strong interest in fairy x princess reaction norms, and candy. Joaquin’s research focuses on dirt.


Lab Alumni



Ph.D. Students and Postdocs

Zoe Diaz-Martin (Ph.D., 2014-2020)
Brock Geary (Ph.D., 2012-2018)
Erik Enbody (Ph.D., 2012-2018)
Luke Brown (Ph.D., 2011-2017)
Samantha Lantz (Ph.D., 2011-2017)
Jenny Hazelhurst (Ph.D., 2010-2016)
Scott Walter (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-2014)
Kym Ottewell (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2012)


Master’s Students

Wendy Deng (+1 MS, 2019 – 2020)
Caitlin McCormick (4+1 MS, 2019 – 2020)
Akhila Gopal (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
AJ Pate (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
Rachel Cook (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
Jiawen Liu (+1 MS, 2018 – 2019)
Emily Nonamaker (4+1 MS, 2016 – 2017)
Meredith Williams (4+1 MS, 2016 – 2017)
Nicole Moody (4+1 MS, 2014 – 2016)
Erik Iverson (4+1 MS, 2015 – 2016)
Roxanne Franta (4+1 MS, 2014-15)
Malinda Chambers (4+1 MS, 2014-15)
Nathan Frumkin (4+1 MS, 2014-15)
Roxanne Franta (4+1 MS, 2013-14)
Tessa Roorda (MS, 2010 – 2011)


Undergraduate Students

Sarah Lueder (Honors Thesis, 2020)
Morgan Furlong (Independent Study, 2020)
Nathalie Clarke (IRES Fellow, 2020)
Margaux Armfield (Honors Thesis, 2020)
Lauren Hitt (Honors Thesis, 2019)
Kyu Min Huh (Honors Thesis, 2019)
Shayna Ross (Honors Thesis, 2019)
Samuel Leberg (Honors Thesis, 2018)
Trey Hendrix (Honors Thesis and NSF IRES fellow, 2018)
Toni Brown (NSF IRES fellow, 2017)
Darcy Gray (NSF IRES fellow, 2016)
Emma Saltzberg (Honors Thesis, 2016)
Michael Mahoney (Honors Thesis, 2016)
Miles Dawkins (Independent Study, 2016)
Erik Iverson (Honors Thesis, 2015)
Alex Gulachenski (NSF IRES fellow, 2014)
Nathan Frumkin (Honors Thesis, 2014)
Mitch Hinton (Honors Thesis, 2013)
Johnny Blanchard (Honors Thesis, 2013)
Kathleen Riley (NSF IRES fellow, 2012)